April 9, 1863
FEDERAL COURT. The Federal Court, Judge Jackson, assembled yesterday morning at the U. S. Court Room. A Grand Jury was empanelled and his Honor delivered quite a lengthy charge. He called attention first to the general duties of Grand Jurors. The oath taken by them indicates what is required of them in the discharge of their duties. Their investigations should be conducted with judicial impartially & c., It was their duty to bring the guilty to trial and protect the innocent from unjust or malicious accusations, always excluding from their counsels in the jury room all fear, favor or affection. The Grand Jury hears evidence only which throws light upon an accusations, but should be satisfied before making a presentment that there is strong probabilities of the guilt of the accused, or in other words no presentment should be made on vague, suspicious or frivolous testimony.
2d. The crime of treason was defined and its commented on. The Judge remarked that having heretofore delivered his charge at length on several occasions relating to this offense he would content himself at this time with some general observations in regard to its character and the Court next called the attention of the jury to the laws of the United States for the protection of the postoffices and mails of the country. Also to the laws relating to forgery and counterfeiting, and the great public necessity that existed at this time for protecting the currency of the country. He alluded to the laws relating to offences against the property of the United States, such as embezzling or purloining any property of the Government larceny of any property or offences against public justice, bribing an officer, impeding and officer in the discharge of his duties, perjury, false swearing &c.
Judge Jackson called special attention to the attempts to evade the revenue laws by false swearing and by other illegitimate means. He said all such cases should be fully investigated and punished. The Judge also alluded to the importance of enforcing the lat act of Congress in relation to the harboring of deserters. Those writing letters for the purpose of inducing soldiers to desert are no better than actual traitors and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The same is true of those who harbor deserters. We must put down the rebellion and restore the Union and nothing must be left undone that will have a tendency to accomplish that object.
The jury retired and a large number of witnesses were sworn and sent into the Grand Jury room.
S. R. Spencer indicated for passing counterfeit bogus coin upon one Mr. Despard in Taylor county was arraigned and plead not guilty. Owing to the absence of some material witness for the defence the trial was fixed for Tuesday next.
John Bender was arraigned upon the charge of stealing government clothing and plead not guilty. The trial was fixed for Saturday.
Col. Smith, the district attorney, entered a nolle prosequi in the case of John L. Bonham indicated for treason, upon his entering bond in the sum of $1,000 to keep the peace for three years.
Gen. Wheat is stating the case said that Mr. Bonham was now living in New York far away from temptations and would not likely be offend again.
The Court state that if the party resided in New York he was rather in the centre of temptation than far away from it.
The bond was given, and Bonham was discharged.
Peter Beaver, a soldier, was arraigned upon the charge of passing counterfeit gold dollars and ten cent pieces in Preston county, and plead not guilty.
A nolle prosequi was entered in the case of Wm. H. Moyston, indicated for treason, upon his giving bend in the sum of $1,000 to keep the peace towards all citizens of the United States for three years.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: April 1863